Citizen Involvement and the Role of Experts in Finnish Energy Policy-Making

Ilkka Ruostetsaari
Finnish energy policy is characterized by special characteristics in international comparison. Even though the construction of nuclear power plants had almost ceased abroad, here the construction of a new plant was licensed by Parliament in 2002, which was followed by licenses for two reactors in 2010. The purpose of the present study is to discuss, whether Finn’s attitudes on energy-policy have engendered conditions for “big” energy policy decisions which in most countries have been very difficult to make. The empirical analysis of the present study is composed of three parts: citizens’ views on their possibilities to influence energy policy-making through representative democracy and political consumerism; their trust in the energy information produced by various actors, and their normative views on the role of experts and political decision-makers in energy policy-making. The study is based on a postal survey conducted among a random sample (N=4000) representing 18-75-year old Finns in 2007. Finns prefer experts rather than politicians to be in charge of energy policy-making. Research institutions representing scientific expertise were seen by the citizenry the most reliable sources of energy information. On the other hand, individual consumption choices were rated to be more useful than, for instance, voting in elections or contacts with MPs, contacts with authorities and energy-producing companies. Hence, it is evident that the Finnish attitudinal climate has created a fruitful soil for decisions concerning energy policy, especially nuclear power.
Energy Policy; Power; Expertise; Political Consumerism; Finland
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